This is the fifth post in the series A Casual Weekend in New York. Other posts include Frank Pepe's Pizza, Salumeria Rossi Parmacotto, Szechuan Gourmet, and 15 East.
Who doesn't love a hidden secret?
Bryan's cousin Anne, who lives in New York, invited us to meet her at a special Japanese "speakeasy" called Angel's Share for drinks while we were in New York. Though technically "hidden", this bar is well-known among cocktail enthusiasts and has received a ton of press, accolades, and awards.
Rated the second best bar in America by GQ Magazine in 2010, Angel's Share is known for its creative hand-crafted cocktails meticulously made by its Japanese bartenders. It also boasts an extensive selection of wine, bourbon, scotch, whiskey, and sake.
I love anything Japanese, and thus was thrilled to check out this new bar.
We didn't know that the bar was hidden.
While trying to find the place, we dutifully followed Anne's directions:
"The bar's address is 8 Stuyvesant St in the East Village, between Second and Third Avenue."
What happens is that when you enter the door at 8 Stuyvesant St. (door pictured above), you walk up the stairs to a loud, casual Japanese restaurant that looks like this.
It really doesn't look anything like a bar.
It turns out there's an unmarked door on the left which actually leads you into the hidden bar. We never would have found it had we not called Anne, who showed up a few minutes later and took us here.
Once you enter, you are greeted with this view.
The ambiance here is completely different from the bright lights and flashing red lanterns outside. Inside, the lighting is subdued and jazz music plays in the background.
Bartenders dressed up in tuxedo vests and ties expertly whip up handcrafted, Japanese-inspired cocktails.
It's almost like you are walking into a real speakeasy from the 1920's.
The bar is quite popular, and the later you come, the more likely it will be packed. Because of limited available seating, you may have to wait for a table (we did). Here you can see a steady stream of guests entering the doorway from the outside world.
The rules are strict here. Parties cannot exceed four people, and you can't stand at the bar. There's almost always a wait (it's very popular), but it's quite worth it, in my opinion.
We tried numerous cocktails between the three of us, and they were all incredibly good. I loved my drink, the award winning Speak Low (pictured on the left), which includes two kinds of rum (Bacardi Superior, Bacardi Solera), Osborne Pedro Ximenez sherry, matcha powder , and a splash of yuzu zest.
It was subtle, complex, and wonderfully refreshing.
Anne got the Serenity (pictured on the right) a house specialty made with citrus and herb-infused vodka, homemade lychee liqueur, fresh ruby red grapefruit juice, fresh lemon juice, and a dash of rose water.
Bryan ordered a really cool drink called the Daahoud, which consists of a mixture of Bulleit rye whiskey, Oloroso sherry, benedictine, and angostura bitters served with a Macallan soaked orange peel in a cinnamon and clove smoked glass.
Because we sat at the bar, it was fun to watch the bartender actually smoke the cinnamon and cloves in glasses right in front of us.
Overall, we had a great time at Angel's Share. Though I haven't visited that many bars in New York, I can easily say that this is by far my favorite bar in New York, and possibly the entire US (!). The drinks are fantastic, and the whole experience (especially sitting right at the counter) is fun. Prices are on the high side (cocktails average around $15 each), but well worth the cost.
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